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Prosecutors say 11-year sentence for rape of disabled girl was too light

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2013 - 8:47 am

Sacramento prosecutors think the 11-year sentence a man received Monday for raping his severely disabled stepdaughter was too light, and they hope the case catches the attention of a lawmaker who might want to toughen future terms.

Superior Court Judge Ben Davidian gave Carlos Guadalupe Mesinas every day of the maximum that was available to him, after Deputy District Attorney Amy Holliday explained why 11 years was as much as the law allows.

"I would note there are a number of enhancements that usually are a part of this type of case," Holliday said. "For example, if you commit this type of crime during a first-degree burglary, or if you tie up or bind the victim in any way, if you use a weapon or if you give them medication or drugs, it all makes it a life case.

"None of those things applied here because he did it in his own house, in the victim's own bedroom. He didn't have to do any of those things. He didn't have to move her. He didn't have to tie her up. He didn't have to drug her or threaten her with a gun."

Mesinas, 27, sat with his right hand shielding his face from media cameras during his sentencing hearing. Jurors convicted him July 22 on a three-count complaint related to the June 14, 2012, rape of the girl with cerebral palsy who cannot speak or walk. She was 14 years old at the time of the offense.

He was arrested after the girl's mother, who had been concerned about Mesinas' admitted infidelities, perused his cellphone and came across a video he made of his sexual attack on the girl.

The video was played during Mesinas' trial and chilled the jury and everybody else in the courtroom, especially the audio portion which contained the girl's painful screams.

"Her screams as he raped her are seared into my brain," Judge Davidian said in court Monday.

Mailyn Chuong, a victim's advocate for the District Attorney's Office, read the girl's mother's impact statement at Mesinas' sentencing.

"In my mind, there never existed a single possibility that an act like this would occur, much less in my house with a member of my family," the woman said.

She said in the statement that Mesinas had been a good provider and helped her care for the disabled daughter. She said the girl loved Mesinas, "enjoyed your voice, enjoyed your company, and did not deserve to be abused by you."

The woman feared the sexual attacks occurred more than once.

"I do not know how many times you were capable of abusing my daughter," she said. "Only God and you know. And since it's something very secret of yours, when you receive your sentence, multiply it by the times you did that to her."

The girl's name is being withheld because of the sexual nature of the crime. The Sacramento Bee also is withholding her mother's name because it could possibly help identify the victim.

Mesinas did not speak at the sentencing. Assistant Public Defender Sandra DiGiulio called it a "terrible, sad crime," but asked the judge to consider statements from Mesinas' acquaintances that he was a nice guy and a hard worker.

DiGiulio brought a rejoinder from the judge when she asked him in sentencing her client also to consider that Mesinas did not use "any real amount of force" other than that "needed to accomplish the act."

Davidian said Mesinas didn't use any force because "she could do nothing to defend herself, and that is what he took advantage of."

In an interview outside court, Holliday said nobody from her office has contacted any legislators yet to try to get them to raise the sentencing limit on people who rape severely disabled victims.

"It's not just for people with disabilities," she said. "There's a very broad spectrum of disabilities. This is for victims who are on the very vulnerable end of that spectrum."

Holliday said she and victims' advocates and local sexual assault investigators also are trying to raise some money so the girl's mother can buy some "humble, reliable, used transportation" with a wheelchair lift.

The girl is now 16, and she has two younger siblings, ages 3 and 5. The mother works nights selling hot food outside of local nightclubs and then cleaning the clubs afterward, sometimes not getting home to relieve the baby sitter until the sun comes up.

"People who have worked this case see a tremendous need for this family," Holliday said. "The defendant was their sole source of income, and now the victim's mother has been forced to support the entire family by herself."

Holliday asked that anybody who is interested in helping the family contact the nonprofit group Destinations Mobility at (916) 868-6797 or www.destinationsmobility. com.

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141. Follow him on Twitter @andyfurillo.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

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